The City of Death by W. M. Ramsay (Offsite Link)

“Sardis was one of the great cities of primitive history: in the Greek view it was long the greatest of all cities. At the beginning of record it stands forth prominently as the capital of a powerful empire. Its situation marks it out as a ruling city, according to the methods of early warfare and early kings; it was however more like a robber's stronghold than an abode of civilised men; and in a peaceful and civilised age its position was found inconvenient. In the Roman period it was almost like a city of the past, a relic of the period of barbaric warfare, which lived rather on its ancient prestige than on its suitability to present conditions.

“The great plain of the Hermus is bounded on the south by the broad ridge of Mount Tmolus, which reaches from the main mass of the Central Anatolian plateau like an arm extended westwards towards the sea. In front of the mountains stretch a series of alluvial hills, making the transition from the level plain to the loftier ridge behind. On one of those hills stood Sardis. The hills in this neighbourhood are of such a character that under the influences of the atmosphere each assumes the form of a small elongated plateau having very steep sides, terminating towards the north in a sharp point, and on the south joined by a neck to the main mass of Tmolus. One of those small elevated plateaux formed the site of the original Sardis, an almost impregnable fortress already as it came from the hand of nature without any artificial fortification. Only a small city could be perched on the little plateau; but in the primitive time, when Sardis came into existence, cities were small” (Ramsay, The Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia, Chapter 25).

On our Holy Days 2000 Page, by following the Pentecost 2000 links,  you may access both audio and transcripts relating the significance of Sardis to church history. This series by Fred R. Coulter is entitled The Seven Church Harvest.